Thursday 05 July, 2012

Of Apricots and Lunch Boxes


Anyone happening to find themselves in the vicinity of bucolic Firebaugh, California (greater Fresno) would do well to stop in at the one and only Apricot Tree Restaurant, conveniently located just off Interstate 5.

I'm not going to go all Jane & Michael Stern on you and report that they have the world's best chicken and dumplings--although the signature apricot milkshakes are mighty tasty.

No, the main reason for stopping here is their rather extensive, if not obsessive, collection of 50s-70s vintage lunch boxes. There are hundreds. I counted four or five different Peanuts variations alone.

For those who are less than 102, it may be hard to imagine, but there was an era when lunch boxes were kind of a big deal. For school kids in an era when there wasn't much flashy clothing, no facebook, etc., there weren't many other ways of expressing your identity than your lunch box (If I remember correctly, I may have even gotten some racist remarks from other white kids for my Fat Albert lunchbox. Whatever, Fat Albert was a helluva lot cooler than Dukes of Hazzard.)

It took me almost no time at all to find nearly every lunch box my brothers and I ever owned, and many of the (even rarer) Thermoses. This collection is probably worth tens of thousands, by the way.

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